Wider Range of Car Colors Rolled Off in 2020
Car ColorsBASF

Wider Range of Car Colors Rolled Off in 2020

The BASF Color Report 2020 for Automotive OEM Coatings shows the automotive color palette shifting in unconventional ways, unveiling a

The BASF Color Report 2020 for Automotive OEM Coatings shows the automotive color palette shifting in unconventional ways, unveiling a wider range of chromatic colors rolling off the world’s assembly lines. Diverse shades like blue and yellow are making gains in some regions, while red and violet are slowly cutting the lead held by the achromatic colors in other parts of the world. The expanding color spaces made the overall spectrum broader than 2019 and added a flash of brilliance. Despite the shift in colors, the achromatic colors, white, black, silver, and gray, followed a familiar pattern, coating the majority of the vehicles produced. As it has been for several years, white is still the most popular car color around the world. It has a classic, timeless beauty, and a connection to both the environment and high technology.

Europe, Middle East and Africa followed the global movement of chromatic colors. In 2020, about 11% of new vehicles in EMEA were coated in blue, making it the most popular chromatic color. Violet is a newcomer to the market, increasing diversity even more. Other chromatic colors are also gaining popularity, especially on smaller SUVs as their market segment grows. Part of the variety comes from the diversity of shades. OEM automakers used more than 160 distinct shades of blue in 2020 on vehicles in EMEA. Gray was second with 140 shades. Both color spaces were more diverse than white, which only had 70 distinct shades. In the achromatic spectrum, white is still on top at 28% of the market, followed by gray and black.

North American car buyers have fewer choices for chromatic colors, but that doesn’t mean they’re choosing fewer chromatic cars, trucks, or SUVs. Blue gained more popularity as an automotive color in North America, edging out red, while beige and brown have dropped off the list. That leaves green as the only other chromatic color in significant numbers in the region. Shades of blue are seen as more elegant, and buyers who may have chosen beige or brown in the past seem to be moving to blues or grays.

Asia Pacific is home to the largest volume of automotive production in the world, and a microcosm of global color popularity. While every region is different, Asia Pacific’s preferences mirror global data, and its bright colors mirror the awakening that chromatic colors are experiencing elsewhere. White is still the most popular color in the region, coating about 48% of the vehicles produced. Black and gray continue to improve, following a three-year trend that eats away at the dominance of white. While the total numbers aren’t huge, brown, green, and violet are all consistent in color popularity. It will be a long time before they challenge white for the most popular, but for now, they add to the tremendous diversity of color in Asia Pacific.

Colors like red and blue, which are so popular in other regions of the globe, are still players in South America, especially among car buyers who are trying to express their individuality with sportier cars. What’s more significant is the market’s love of achromatic colors. Historically, South American car buyers have chosen more traditional, less flashy colors. Like other regions, white is by far the favorite, covering about 39% of OEM vehicles. The popularity of gray and silver is higher than in other regions, with 18% for each. Black has the smallest preference among the achromatic colors, with 12%. Altogether, the achromatic colors command an 87% share. Unlike other regions, red stands out as the top chromatic color with 9%. Diverse shades of blue are important worldwide, while in South America, blue are just 2% of the market. Orange is a newcomer, brown is holding steady, and beige has all but disappeared.

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